Characterization of Levels and Cellular Transfer of Circulating Lipoprotein-Bound MicroRNAs
Objective—MicroRNAs are important intracellular regulators of gene expression, but also circulate in the blood being protected by extracellular vesicles, proteins, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Here, we evaluate the regulation and potential function of HDL- and low-density lipoprotein–bound miRs isolated from healthy subjects and patients with coronary artery disease.
Approach and Results—HDL-bound miRs with known effects in the cardiovascular system were analyzed in HDL isolated from healthy subjects (n=10), patients with stable coronary artery disease (n=10), and patients with an acute coronary syndrome (n=10). In HDL from healthy subjects, miR-223 was detected at concentrations >10 000 copies/µg HDL, and miR-126 and miR-92a at about 3000 copies/µg HDL. Concentrations of most miRs were substantially higher in HDL as compared with low-density lipoprotein. However, HDL-bound miR-223 contributed to only 8% of the total circulating miRs. The signatures of miRs varied only slightly in HDL derived from patients with coronary artery disease. We did not observe a significant uptake of HDL-bound miRs into endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, or peripheral blood mononuclear cells. However, patient-derived HDL transiently reduced miR expression particularly when incubated with smooth muscle and peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
Conclusions—Circulating miRs are detected in HDL and to a lesser extent in low-density lipoprotein, and the miR-signatures are only slightly altered in patients with coronary artery disease. Lipoprotein-bound miRs were not efficiently delivered to endothelial, smooth muscle, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells suggesting that the lipoprotein-associated pool of miRs is not regulating the function of the studied cells in vitro.
- Received October 29, 2012.
- Accepted March 18, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.